Skip to main content

Samuel Wanjiru Resigns From Team Toyota Kyushu

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/olympic/2008/news/track/long/news/20080728-OYT1T00534.htm

translated by Brett Larner

On July 28, Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu of Miyawaka, Fukuoka Prefecture, received a letter of resignation from its star runner, Kenyan Olympic marathon team member and half marathon world record holder Samuel Wanjiru, 21. The letter was sent by a Tokyo law office and stated that Wanjiru would be resigning "for personal reasons." Wanjiru has been training in Kenya separately from the team since mid-July. Representatives from Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu commented, "We have to confirm that this letter was actually sent by Wanjiru and that this is really his intention."

Wanjiru joined Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu in 2005 after graduating from Sendai Ikuei High School in Miyagi Prefecture where he studied as an exchange student. In his debut marathon at last December`s Fukuoka International Marathon Wanjiru won the race in a course record time. In April this year he was 2nd in the London Marathon and was selected for the Kenyan Olympic team.

Translator`s note: Wanjiru joined Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu because its coach is Barcelona Olympics marathon silver medalist Koichi Morishita. Wanjiru is based in Japan most of the year, returning to Kenya several times a year for training and racing around the world through his association with agent Federico Rosa and his father, coach Gabrielle Rosa.

Since moving toward the marathon in the last year Wanjiru has been pulled in opposing directions by Morishita and Rosa, initially announcing he would run his debut marathon in Fukuoka, then switching to New York, then back to Fukuoka when Toyota Kyushu blocked his New York plans. Following Wanjiru`s course record debut victory at Fukuoka Morishita publicly stated that he didn`t want Wanjiru to run in the London or the Olympic marathons, but rather to spend a few years gradually building his experience before seeking to break through on the world level as a marathoner. Wanjiru ran London in an extremely fast time and was selected for the Kenyan Olympic team on the strength of that performance. He has spent much of his time since London pacemaking Toyota Kyushu teammates in their attempts to make the Japanese Olympic team in the men`s 10000 m.

Although Wanjiru claims to value his status as a jitsugyodan runner in Japan and the experience it brings him, it would appear that the limitations the Japanese system imposes, including a 180 day residency requirement, participation in particular ekidens and track races, and limitations on being able to select overseas races independently, have come to outweigh the benefits for a runner of Wanjiru`s ability.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Ichiyama and Kirui Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

Last year's winners Betsy Saina and Edward Waweru, both of Kenya, return to the Feb. 3 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, but in both cases they have tough competition. Ranked #1 in the women's race is Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) with a 1:09:14, 3 seconds better than Saina's winning time last year. 3 seconds slower is Sinead Diver (Australia) with a 1:09:20 on home ground last year. Sara Hall (U.S.A.) isn't far behind, and with track star Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) making her debut off a brilliant run at last weekend's National Women's Ekiden it should be a solid pack up front.

In the men's race, 2017 marathon world champion Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) leads the way, his best recent time a 1:00:04 in New Delhi two years ago. Only 2 seconds behind is Shadrack Kiplagat (Kenya), with Evans Cheruiyot (Kenya) and the Japan-based Waweru just over 20 seconds back. Waweru's condition is a question mark after an injury at the New Year Ekiden. Kenta Murayama (Asah…

Nissin Shokuhin to Eliminate All Athletes Except Sato and Murasawa

Two-time New Year Ekiden national champion Nissin Shokuhin Group announced on Jan. 10 that it is making major cuts to its men's ekiden team. With the exception of MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials qualifiers Akinobu Murasawa, 27, and Yuki Sato, 32, it will eliminate its other twelve athletes from the team. It has also canceled contracts with two graduating university fourth-years who were scheduled to join the team in April following their graduation.

The Nissin Shokuhin Group team has been one of the leaders of Japanese long distance, home to top class athletes including current marathon national record holder Suguru Osako, 27. The change in its policies comes suddenly. According to a person involved in the situation, of the team's fourteen members the twelve other than Murasawa and Sato have been asked to leave the team. Those who wish to continue their athletic careers will receive support in transferring to another team, while those who wish to retire will have the op…

Aoyama Gakuin First Year Takayuki Iida Leads Weekend Half Marathon Action

The National Women's Ekiden was the weekend's biggest race, but across the country four half marathons saw decently competitive men's action.

At Tochigi's Takanezawa Genki Up Half Marathon, as in the last few years Hakone Ekiden runner-up Aoyama Gakuin University ran its B-team of Hakone non-starters, this year with company from the team that beat it, Tokai University. AGU swept the top ten, first-year Takayuki Iida taking the top spot in 1:03:10 with teammate Shuya Iwami also getting under 64 minutes. Tokai seemed to treat the day more as a workout, but head coach Hayashi Morozumi, 52, took the chance to get in on the action too, running the 10 km division in 43:04.

In Tokyo, the High Tech Half Marathon celebrated its 20th running with the edition of a marathon division. Independent Hideyuki Ikegami (Aminosaurus) won the men's half in 1:05:08. Club runner Eri Suzuki (Noshiro Yamamoto T&F Assoc.) ran the fastest women's time of the weekend, 1:19:34, to win…